"Oprah’s Sparrows"


Birds perch in the waiter's slung earlobes.
“Sparrows sleep on the wing like Oprah Winfrey
between takes," he explains,
“their nightmares are of unfalling,
of waking trapped under a six-tog duvet
in a room where light seeps
through PVC panels of trick-sky:
each attempt to fly free, punished in exact
proportion to their desire for escape."

Our ashtray threads a noose. The waiter
does not speak English. His hair is the hair
I had as a twelve-year-old, but so right.
Such sweet relief, to wake up falling.



This article first appeared in the 20 February 2012 issue of the New Statesman, How do we stop Iran getting the bomb?